PerspectiveClimate Change

Tropical Surprises

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Science  01 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5556, pp. 811-812
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068447

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Knowledge of decadal fluctuations in Earth's climate is important for understanding how carbon dioxide emissions may change Earth's climate. In his Perspective, Hartmann highlights the reports by Wielicki et al. and Chen et al., who have observed changes in the tropical energy budget over the 1990s. Changes in circulation and cloud patterns appear to drive this change, but the underlying cause is unknown. The reports highlight our limited knowledge of decadal fluctuations in climate.